Thursday's opener in Class 3 District 6 play at Riley Field served its purpose as the win got the Pintos one step closer to attaining one of their goals, the district championship. One down, two to go.
The top-seeded Pintos (state-ranked #5 in Class 3) defeated #8 seeded Missouri Military Academy 69-0 in a contest that consisted of a shortened second half (two eight-minute quarters). Next up for California is the second round of districts versus Fulton, the #5 seed, today (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at Riley Field.
"Fulton is definitely dangerous," California Coach Marty Albertson said. "They have good athletes and a lot of speed; they're going to test our defense. Offensively, they've given up quite a few points, but every game gets tougher from this point. We've got to bring our A game now. This game is bigger than the last and the next game will be even bigger."
Thursday's game against MMA saw the Pintos score on 10 of 12 possessions, while the Colonels had five turnovers; two fumbles and three interceptions.
California's Aaron Cuevas nailed nine of nine extra point attempts, and scored one TD.
"Overall, our kids played well and took care of business," Albertson said. "We got to see a lot of our kids run the ball successfully and we had efficient passing. Most of the JV played the second quarter and the freshmen and JV played the second half. It was exactly what we needed to do."
The Pintos started off with a 15-yard touchdown by Walker Borghardt on their opening drive, followed by a 17-yard TD pass from Jaden Barr to Drew Norton. MMA's ensuing drive resulted in an interception by Alex Dalbey. Three plays later, the Pintos scored on a 1-yard TD by A.J. Kendrick.
California's next possession was capped with a 40-yard TD run by Borghardt.
The Colonels fumbled the kickoff return that followed, which was recovered by California's Dylan Ratcliff, and two plays later Barr ran in a 15-yard TD.
MMA fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, which was recovered by Kendrick. The Pintos answered with a 31-yard touchdown by Barr with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter, however, the scoring run was negated by a penalty. Three plays later, however, California scored when Barr hit Norton with an 11-yard TD pass.
The Colonels' next possession was cut short via an interception by Jacob Johnson. Two plays later, Kendrick ran in a 10-yard TD.
California's Allan Burger had back-to-back touchdowns to end the second quarter, a 42-yard run at the 4:21 mark, and a 24-yard run with 27 seconds remaining, and California led 63-0 at the half.
The second half saw the Pintos score once more, on an 11-yard run by Cuevas with 6:23 left to play.
MMA's ensuing drive ended with an interception by Dalbey with 3:50 remaining. The Pintos had driven to the Colonels' 12-yard line when time ran out.
California ended up with 31 rushes for 369 yards and Barr completed 7 of 10 passes for 83 yards for a total of 452 yards of offense.
Borghardt led California rushing with four carries for 102 yards and two TDs. Hunter Heimericks followed with eight carries for 93 yards. Allan Burger had three carries for 69 yards and two TDs. Barr had two carrieis for 42 yards and two TDs.
Norton and Burger each had three receptions.
Clayton Percival led Pinto tackles with six. Burger and Sam Kirby each had five tackles.
The Colonels had 23 carries for a total of one yard and completed 1 of 12 passes for a total of 3 yards, and threw three interceptions.
The winner of tonight's district game will advance to the Class 3 District 6 championship game at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 (at Riley Field if California wins), to play the winner of the other district semifinal game (#2 Centralia vs. #3 Macon).